(c) 2013 Christiana Lambert

(c) 2013 Christiana Lambert

Winter finally blustered back in once when we were settling into a lovely pseudo-spring. Just last Thursday we were enjoying 60 degrees and sunshine and now the thermometer has gone so low as to almost hit zero. I blame two people for the severity of this abrupt weather change since they seem to have forgotten the old adage of being careful when telling the Universe what you want. A few specifics surrounding their requests might have helped.

First our niece Alex said she really hoped for snow on the ground for her February wedding, scheduled to take place outside in the foothills of the mountains—well, not only did she get it on the ground as well as falling from the sky, but she also received arctic temperatures to preserve all that white stuff. Perhaps she should have suggested specific snowfall amounts and limited the temperature drop? But, hey, thanks to well-positioned heaters as well as guests who knew enough to wear accessories such as long johns, snow boots, and whatever else we needed to stay warm enough, her magical winter wonderland wedding ceremony did go on outside. After she got the white wedding she desired, she and her Mr. Right and everyone else got a whole lot warmer by moving into the venue’s snug—and well-heated—stone house for the remainder of the evening.

And then there is my husband Sherman who has had to plow the family’s commercial building parking lot five times since last Saturday—yes, that includes the morning before the wedding, the morning of, and the morning after. At this point, he’s grateful he could recover somewhat by skipping the task Tuesday and Wednesday before returning to take up the plow yesterday and this morning. You see, he decided he wanted to put together a bike for the upcoming spring riding season, but mentioned he spent all his savings and his birthday money on the first few pieces he bought. In order to start building he would need to earn some extra cash—which I think the Universe interpreted as a good reason to keep bringing him snow jobs. Maybe he should have expressed a time frame so the Universe didn’t feel so pressured to do it all in one week?

Now the Denver area has topped all previous snowfall records for February. Coincidence? I think not, Alex and Sherman.

I—thanks to picking the right year to upgrade both my snow boots and winter coat—am still capable of enjoying the corresponding beauty, even though I didn’t ask for any of this extreme weather. Last month when I scheduled my upcoming massage, I didn’t think to ask the Universe to provide the funds, but provide it did—the funds, that is, as well as the slightly more achy back from all that pushing the snow blower.

Well done, Winter—welcome back. Now that we’ve received much of the moisture we were missing—some of which we likely did request—let’s talk about March. No need to keep us quite so cold or snowy in the coming weeks, is there? As for my husband’s bike, he’s too tired to put it together yet anyway, so his parts can wait. And Alex is back to the desert, living happily ever after—well as happily as she can live away from the snow she misses.

Here’s a request, Universe. How about a little rest from the daily snows for now? That seems specific enough, and, yet, somehow I bet you find some wiggle room in my words. Which leads to one more request: please be gentle in how you surprise me with your interpretation of my request, OK?

Yeah right. Thanks anyway!

Shoes by Christiana Lambert (2010)

Shoes by Christiana Lambert (2010)

Who touched me? That’s the question Jesus asked when he felt his healing energy find a target on its own. The woman who dared to grasp at the slightest thread of his cloak had little to lose—she had been bleeding for 12 years and, thus, had been declared unclean.

Who do we call unclean? We don’t really have a list of conditions such as a bleeding disorder, but we do start to question others’ health realities after a certain amount of time goes by. When people don’t get better fast enough for us or if they have some underlying issue that is either fairly hidden or just not well understood by the medical community and/or the general public, we wonder why they don’t “get over it” and move on.

Sometimes we have a reference point such as our own recovery or the recovery of someone we know and we assume that there is a formula that states that “X” disease/injury = “Y” recovery time in every circumstance.

Often, however, we know little about a condition and just grow rather fatigued with the inconveniences caused to us by the length of others’ recoveries.

In either situation we can begin to question the person’s motivation or the health care provided.

I think it’s just another example of our belief we control many factors that we may not. I want to believe that if I work hard enough or rest well enough then I’ll get well quickly and regain what I have lost. Isn’t it easier to believe someone is contributing to his or her slow healing than to realize just how at risk any of us is to capricious health threats?

In some ways we act as if it’s catching to be around someone who isn’t well, even when the condition itself isn’t contagious. They should just buck up and get themselves well and stop slowing down our lives.

As if a slowed-down life is a desire for most. As if it isn’t heartbreaking enough to experience enforced rest—from work and life’s other activities—often in conjunction with pain without feeling further abandoned by others who seem over the wait for healing.

Imagine that woman who—thanks to a medical condition—was treated as if she were a moral threat to healthy individuals. In her time of great need she was treated as if she had caused her own problems and as if she deserved her ostracization.

Let’s not make the mistake of declaring others untouchable during the moments when their bodies are most in need of healing as well as the time to do so. Since they don’t have the opportunity to grab Jesus’ robe as he walks by and in lieu of hitting the bull’s-eye of absolute healing they crave, might our patience and support instead be the next best miracle they can receive? The power of Jesus’ healing touch flowing through us lands not far off the mark.

(c)  2010 Christiana Lambert

(c) 2010 Christiana Lambert

It is a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word. Andrew Jackson

By the time I sat on the gifted and talented advisory committee for my kids’ school district, I already knew the director spoke the truth. Every few months she reminded us good—or bad—spelling was no sign of giftedness or intelligence.

Some of us must come with a spelling gene that works with this crazy English language of ours. We don’t need to be taught—more than once or twice—how to spell the basics. Plus, we do pretty well with challenging words, also. Even when we have to use some memorization techniques to help us remember, we do remember.

I confess—I am that person who cringes when I see misspelled words. For the longest time I believed people who didn’t spell well just weren’t very bright. I am trying to dial down my judgment (by the way, why isn’t that word spelled as judgement?) and save it for professional organizations and professionals who make a living using words. And, don’t worry, finding my own mistakes feels like fire and ice to me—shame colors me red while chilling the blood flowing through my veins. I cannot hit “edit” or “update” fast enough while knowing that the whole world (literally or figuratively—you decide) can see my errors.

However, I married a person who often cannot see whatever is correct or incorrect about many words. Spelling doesn’t keep him from knowing what the word is or getting the meaning, though. Maybe there’s an even higher intelligence in de-coding words when they don’t meet some exact formula. Turns out he’s smart enough for me to love, even if he can’t spell well. Who knew? Not me when I lived in the ivory tower of spelling elitism.

As for the children of our union? If there’s a spelling gene, it’s certainly skipped our daughter. But for her, she can get the spelling long enough to pass some quiz, even if she doesn’t always retain the knowledge. In fourth grade she’d often fail the pre-test on Monday, but after doing the practice work, she’d ace the test on Friday. Our son has more natural ability, but still doesn’t care to the level I do.

While I am less uptight about others’ spelling than I used to be, there are still situations where I think getting it right really matters. I guess if I didn’t think that way I wouldn’t be much of an editor or proofreader. If spelling is not your thing, but you’re putting something out to the world—literally or figuratively—then that’s a good time to ask for some help from one of your friends who cares just a little too much about spelling.

Believe it or not, but for most of us it is a compulsion—we cannot not see the errors.

You help us by keeping us from hyperventilating over seeing errors and we help you not to put those errors you can’t see out into the world. I’m not offering to edit and/or proofread your novels, but it is easy for me to see small errors in short pieces.

Well, easy to see unless they are my own. Sigh. Even holier-than-thou spellers make mistakes—feel free to save me from myself when I, too, have committed orthographic sins.

Note: for all my spelling arrogance, I never knew the meaning of the word orthography. Just because I know how to spell doesn’t mean I am naturally gifted in learning vocabulary—spelled correctly or not.

(c) 2015 Trina Lambert

(c) 2015 Trina Lambert

My mom was proud of her family. She loved making sweeping generalizations about the whole extended group of us: “We don’t do that. We do do that.” Anything my brother and I did differently from the context of her family must have come from our father’s side. Sigh—sometimes we’re just like the Jones family or the Langes.

Exactly. Even when we don’t know we are.

We modern people in the US like to think we create our own destinies. We are unique, born of a certain time and circumstances and our reactions to our experiences. We don’t really like to think our genetics have anything to do with how we act—unless we are someone like my mother.

I really didn’t think about the nurture or nature debate either way before I had my own kids. But when I did, my own little twin study project told me there was at least something to the whole nature side. Week one I had two very different babies with two very different reactions to almost everything in their environment, it seemed. Since I started out tandem nursing and continued doing so for months, there were few moments I spent with just one baby during those early weeks except for in the rare instance when one was sleeping while the other was awake.

Twin A contemplated her hands and maybe raised an eyebrow when she was hungry. Her body was often floppy, like a rag doll. She got distracted while eating. She didn’t make a lot of noise but when she did she made sure she was heard. Twin B was always making noise, reacting to every transition and screaming in anger when too hungry or too wet, or not moving enough. His body was often so rigid we called him Mr. Plywood and he never, ever got distracted while eating.

These two brand new people were persons in their own from the start. However genetic matter had combined in each of them it had created each with some sort of history and even—it appeared—some baggage.

No doubt we have since nurtured their natures in ways that make their original natures even more pronounced, but we definitely did not have a say as to how they were molded in the first place.

I am no scientist, but I admit to being fascinated with all the DNA breakthroughs that have happened in the last decades as to lineage—the personality and behavioral traits as well as the physical traits. How have my ancestors—the ones I never knew—affected who I am and how have my husband’s ancestors combined with mine to affect my children?

A few months ago I started talking with a woman in my church choir about where we were originally raised and pretty soon we realized we could be related. We both come from German-American families in Nebraska who gathered together to sing—and she and I are singing together today. What would it mean if we have a mutual ancestor who is our link to the move to the New World? Anything? I don’t really know, but somehow I care to discover if we are connected and, if so, how.

What I do know is that I’ve found the relative whose looks I share on my father’s side. My son looked like his paternal grandfather’s mother as a toddler—and looks like his own father now. My daughter looks like me in many ways, but not all. But what about the who of who each of us is—how much of that can we tie to specific relatives we never even knew?

Is there really something to my mother’s “we do or don’t do that” statements beyond the way we were nurtured? Something about that feels so deterministic and opposite of notions of independence and yet I wonder . . . and being a good descendant from the Ritters and Rodehorsts, my words instantly lead me to burst out in song.

Oh yes, I wonder, wonder . . . who wrote the book of love—or rather, who wrote the book of life that flows through my veins? Or even more so, what are the whys and whats that DNA reveals about the great plan the Who—God—had for our ancestors before us—and for us—and for those yet to come?

(c) 2009 Christiana Lambert

(c) 2009 Christiana Lambert

The days and nights have been mostly lovely for running: warm sunny days and cool but not cold nights. Even the ground of late has not been treacherous, which is a particular blessing in February. So I’m getting faster, right?

No. Still listening to my body and it’s still not telling me to go farther and faster. So I watch my shadow and try to sense whether or not my form is proper for good health and healing and work on keeping my footsteps fairly quiet. I breathe in the blue skies or cool night breezes.

I try to stay with the fitness I have now and keep each moment as it is. I remind myself that the numbers are not the point. They should not be the main point even when my body is stronger but they are especially not the point when my biggest goal is just to do the running and keep that form of movement part of my life still.

These are hard goals to accept for someone who ran track for eight years and who was running alone on the roads long before that was a common activity for young girls in high school. I have been doing this running thing off and on for more than 35 years, but there were definitely some years when I was sure I had run my last mile—and that felt just awful to me.

So often it is just me and my head and my feet on some road or trail. I never have been one of those people who had to surround myself with people in order to run, even though I did enjoy running workouts with others during my track and cross country seasons. It’s just the social aspects of running aren’t the main reasons I run and sometimes I even find myself feeling a bit off-kilter from running with others.

Last week my husband and I planned to run a club race where I knew—by doing the math from the numbers I do observe—that I was going to have to accept being one of the last runners in the pack. The distance was longer than my normal run and most of the other people run many more miles and more often than I do.

The day dawned warm, but windy in the way that was the norm where I grew up running. But I’m many years and many miles away from that first running space—I no longer have to have the mental toughness to run daily in such conditions. Still, I showed up.

Because I do pay attention somewhat to the numbers, I realized I was running too fast, lulled by that wind at my back that was going to confront me with full-frontal force when I turned to face the back of the out-and-back course. Suffice it to say the run got a whole lot harder and I got a whole lot slower the longer I was out running against the wind.

I was doing the best I could just to finish, even if my finish time was going to be faster than I had expected. I figured that maybe I really shouldn’t worry too much about kicking it in as I usually do—I may run a race slow but I am that former competitor who knows how to finish strong. Nonetheless, my sleeping body still complains too loudly of its aches most nights and I weigh too much—my ego needs to stay in check with reality. Hey, I was running, and that was good enough, right?

But my ego hates that some people think I am new to this thing I have been doing for about 70% of my years on this earth—as you can probably tell, my ego is the part that keeps up with the math and the statistics and what used to be. I ran the race I should for the body I have right now—and was working on being good with finishing two and half minutes earlier than expected when this woman jumped out to try to hold my hand to help me finish.

I hope I didn’t seem too rude but—even with my end-of-the-race labored breathing—I told her I didn’t want to hold hands. I know what I’m doing—and right now it’s listening to my body just as it was all those years ago. I’m guessing she wanted to be helpful, but she insulted the girl I was who ran mile after mile alone and who was willing to be the only female in a race. I am in this life for the long run and if that means I have to take a slower, shorter run than I’d prefer, then that’s what I’ll do.

Besides, the days and nights have been just lovely for all those slower and shorter runs I’ve taken. I focus on breathing in and out and letting it all be enough, one footfall at a time. Slow and steady wins the race I’m running these days, even when I finish at the back of the pack.

(c) 2010 Christiana Lambert

(c) 2010 Christiana Lambert

Sometimes you introduce something awesome to other people and they just run with it, leaving you wondering just what you are missing. But, hey, that’s not all bad, right?

I’m coming up on 10 years of doing yoga, mostly with the same instructor. One of the great things about my teacher is that her classes are not often predictable—she varies the styles of yoga and often introduces different tools. Only once during those 10 years did she do something called yoga nidra in my regular classes, but I never forgot that one class.

Let’s just say that I have control issues, so I don’t always get my mind to let go during my yoga classes—even after practicing yoga for all those years. One time when I really did let go was during that long ago yoga nidra class. Yoga nidra is a systematic guided relaxation technique—which can result in a waking sleep. When it works well it is almost indescribable—at least I can’t really get my words to explain to you just how freeing it is—you’re just going to have to try it yourself.

When my instructor recently offered a scheduled yoga nidra class, I signed up right away. And then I thought about my son who has been learning meditation techniques through his martial arts practice—and who has also been sidelined from most of his physical activities with his recent concussion. He’s been crawling out of his skin without being able to move in the ways he wants—here was a guy who needed to relax but who also was becoming more open to different relaxation techniques.

Last Saturday we both attended the class. I received many benefits from the session, but due to my lower back speaking to me way too loudly as the session continued, I eventually became more fixated on my physical state and less able to disassociate from the here and now.

Not my son—it seems he really experienced something closer to what I experienced the first time I did yoga nidra. Several days later he is still talking about it. The thing is I can also see the change in him. He’s been in a pretty irritable state since his head got injured, but in the last few days he’s starting to have more moments when he’s relaxed. And even before he got hit on the head, he wasn’t a very relaxed sort of person. (Hmm–where does that trait come from?)

Wouldn’t it be great if he finally found a tool that could help him to help himself? This is especially important right now when he can’t do so many of the things that usually calm him down.

Hey, maybe it will be catching and I can find some more calm myself—but first it seems I need to prepare my body in advance for lying still so long—turns out all those positioning pillows I need for good sleep might be necessary to get my body and its aches out of the picture long enough to let my mind go wherever it’s been needing to go.

But discovering where the mind can go when the body remains still—and quiet—is nothing short of miraculous.

(c) 2009 Christiana Lambert

(c) 2009 Christiana Lambert

My friend shared on Facebook how differently his life has turned out from the plans he had 30 years ago when graduating from college. Instead of becoming Mr. International-Business, he is back living in his childhood home, after choosing to be his parents’ full-time caregiver. His life is full of love and laughter, despite the tears and despite having to do hard tasks for his parents. He understands how to find joy in ordinary moments such as walking along the river, observing the patterns created while pushing a snow blower, or reveling in sharing memories with his mom and dad while their shaky hands slowly help decorate the Christmas tree. And yet, he is happy in the life he has.

That kind of happy is easy to be around because it’s not the kind of happy that comes from having, doing, and/or achieving. Instead, it’s the kind of happy that comes from being—and loving.

Today I sat in a radiology waiting room with a man so like the one my friend thought he would be all those years ago. This man was busy—and, as far as I could tell, happy with all that busyness. He made one call after another. “I’m not sharing this with anyone else yet.” “I won an award.” “Please change the flight for our nanny for the Hawaii trip.” “I’ll be in a conference call from 2:30 to 5:00.” Call after call, the man just kept going.

Believe it or not, I wasn’t trying to listen—I’m just sharing some of the snippets that kept intruding on my plan to read my book in relative silence—while, once again, waiting for someone I love who was at a medical appointment. I was looking for a quiet, peaceful moment when I could relax and try not to worry about the whys for our visit.

Most likely our visit was just a rule-out activity, but it’s not lost on me that for some people this is the place where what they never planned to experience is discovered.

From the cheerful banter and movement from one phone call after another by the other occupant of the waiting room, I got the impression the man was there for something such as a picture of an achy knee or some other sort of a hitch in his get-a-long—some body part that was slowing down his fast-paced life.

That’s why I was surprised when I heard his offhand tone as he said, “Oh, I’m just waiting to get a CT scan. They want to look at those blood clots in my lungs. They’re saying I might not be able to fly.” After a pause and a short laugh, he added, “Well, that won’t work. I have to be there, you know?”

Despite his almost frenetic activity, I really did get the impression it was no cover for fear. He just didn’t have time for that sort of thing (health difficulties) in his life—he had things to do, people to see, and places to go. Something like that just wasn’t going to slow him down.

I wish him well, but I just wanted to shake him and ask him if he’d heard himself. If nothing else, there are the people who rely on him at work or at the companies with which he deals, not to mention his wife and the two boys under his nanny’s care. Might taking a break from all his plans be better than letting everyone else figure out how to do without him permanently?

Nothing against the man—well, except for the fact it never seemed to occur to him that maybe I didn’t want to listen to all his phone calls—but I question his priorities. His body clearly has some problem, but he acted as if he thought he was just spending time waiting to check off another “to do” from his list.

If that’s the kind of person my friend had become, then we probably would have drifted into way different circles.

But long before his parents became ill, he recognized those original goals weren’t really his. He is a healer of a person, not a wheeler and dealer. I am blessed to know him—the him he was and the him he allowed himself to become. And truly the world would be a better place for us if more people such as he is were the wheelers and dealers of this world, but I don’t think that lifestyle would feed the healers of this world in the ways they need to be fed.

Blessed are those who feel blessed, even when they have few of the trappings of the world—for they know how to slow down and see God in the tiniest grain of sand or while experiencing a nano-second of joy.

Well done, oh good and faithful servant—you “get” it.

(c) 2013 Christiana Lambert

(c) 2013 Christiana Lambert

As your kids grow—even when they aren’t away from home—you know less and less about their lives—as is right. You see some of their successes as well as their fumblings, but you often don’t spend a lot of time with them.

When you notice them moving in a good direction, you cheer the possibilities. Like me, my son gets great benefit from physical activities, and I’ve enjoyed watching his growth—both physical and mental—from his participation in martial arts over the last several months. Thanks to this practice, we’ve seen less and less of him around our home lately.

That is, until last month, when his head got injured at work. Since then he’s had to take a hiatus from the physical aspects of his martial arts, as well as from his sometime weekend gig as well as from working full days at his regular job.

The news is full of the long-term effects from head injuries these days with more information available about the difficulties all levels of athletes are experiencing from previous concussions. I was raised by a mother who had a head injury with effects that lingered for her lifetime so I do understand many of the concerns surrounding the distant future.

But what I didn’t understand was just how much a seemingly minor head injury affects someone in the short term.

My son is receiving care under Worker’s Compensation for his injury. At first he was released to full-time work but with physical reductions. Unfortunately, it soon became clear that focusing at work for the normal time period led to excruciating headaches that chased him into a dark room post-work. His maximum allowed work hours were reduced to five a day.

Although he feels much better with more rest, he is not healed and it is not clear how long it will be until he is. He is so frustrated that he can neither perform to his own standards at work nor do the activities he likes, such as the martial arts and snow skiing. Plus, he feels the clock ticking as work and friends wonder why he isn’t better yet. Trust me, so does he.

He is being seen by medical professionals who are searching for that answer. Despite what some have said, I’m not cynical enough to believe they would drag out the process just to make money. That doctor’s office today was plenty busy with people who were there on private insurance. In fact, if I’m cynical at all, it’s because some people I know have received sub-standard care from worker’s comp providers. So far I don’t feel that either case is true for him.

I hate being so aware of the costs for this—I know that workplace injuries like this can drive up premiums for small businesses. If I could I would have suggested he receive care all along on our insurance to avoid all that—but that’s not how the systems function. He didn’t get hurt doing martial arts or putting up Christmas lights at home or walking down the street, for that matter—he got hurt while doing his job, working a position that is physical enough to have some risk of workplace injuries.

All I know is he’d rather be working full-time and continuing his moonlighting position and growing in his martial arts and going skiing with us and just living his everyday life. Instead, he’s had rest imposed on him—which is tough at any age, let alone at 22.

My mother’s heart hurts that he has to put his life on hold and that his body has been damaged. “Stuff” happens in everyone’s lives but that doesn’t make it any easier when it happens to someone you love.

He’s young and time is on his side, but, for now, time is moving way too slowly for him. As my mother-in-law always says during tough times, this too shall pass. Guess we’ll just have to enjoy how his slowed down pace gives us more time to pass with him.

(c) 2013

(c) 2013

Despite all the frustrations over scheduling and advising, our daughter is getting ready to graduate this semester. Yahoo! She is busy making certain all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed so that she can leave with that degree—for which she will have an extra 14 credit hours. No, I told her not to accept the department adviser’s minor error on her graduation contract—it could matter. (My niece is marrying a man whose academic department started quibbling with him regarding his degree completion over two months after they said he had graduated.)

Besides completing her capstone art semester, which will culminate with a solo art show, she is also taking a professional practices course. She’s been working on tasks such as creating business cards and setting up her professional Facebook page. Somehow it’s hard to believe—despite the extra two semesters—that she is finally graduating.

Yes, we are those “crazy” parents who “let” our daughter declare a major in art—with a concentration in drawing in a small and highly competitive program. Will she be able to support herself solely with her art? That remains to be seen, but the desire to support herself is one of the reasons she is getting her art education within a four-year (make that five-year!) university program.

In these times so many people believe studying the humanities at all, let alone art, is a license to starve. And I have to thank everyone (sarcasm intended) who has pointed that out over the years, including some of her professors who think it is some sign of poor artistry to do anything with her art that doesn’t involve selling in a studio. Also, I would like to thank the many lackluster students in more practical majors who are shocked—just shocked—that she not only has a lot of work to do for her classes but also that she gets graded. How many of them could survive having all their highly unique work critiqued not only by the professor but also by their peers, every single time?

I happen to believe that being a passionate student in any subject teaches students more than they will learn if they only do the bare minimum in some subject they take because it is supposed to earn them money. Hey, I have an MBA (to go with that lowly humanities degree) but I’ve met a lot of former and current business majors who cared more about partying than balance sheets or P/E ratios.

When my daughter tells many students what she is studying, they say, “Oh, wow, I can’t draw.” As if somehow this has anything to do with them in the first place but I think they’re trying to point out how irrelevant her knowledge is. I’ll get to what’s relevant about her studies in a moment, but let’s just say that it’s too bad they can’t draw, because she can draw by hand and computer (plus edit by computer) as well as create spreadsheets, perform accounting, write, do research, and excel in math and science classes.

You see, she’s graduating with a bachelor’s degree just like all the other people at her university—they don’t give those degrees away no matter your major. Like everyone else there, she’s taken a variety of other courses besides those in her major and area of concentration.

Plus—and here’s where my liberal arts rant begins again—each discipline teaches valuable skills that apply to many situations.

In order to obtain a degree in art, for each project she does she has to follow a prompt—in other words, she has to design her finished product to some specifications. She must sketch possibilities from her ideas, research artists and works similar to her idea, investigate materials and see how well she can apply those materials to her specific project plan, and change the plan as needed. She has to manage her time in order to finish a long project by the deadline. When she is finished she must go through a group critique where the professor and her peers get to weigh in on how they perceive her finished project achieved its intent. At times she must create art in partnership or as part of a team. Keep in mind that few of her courses involve taking multiple choice tests by Scantron—most of the work she does is distinct and individualized.

So to summarize: For any given project she must work from directions, use creativity, perform research, practice good time management, remain flexible as her project develops, meet established deadlines, communicate ideas in writing and orally to individuals and groups, and receive criticism and feedback from multiple individuals.

Don’t discount her education—it’s been rigorous and has helped her develop the tools she needs to meet the demands of a variety of professions. Hey, I’d be happy if you’d buy her art and she could live as an artist. But just so you know, her discipline has taught her many skills and developed others that are valuable to many kinds of jobs and careers.

Just because she can draw a box doesn’t mean she isn’t able to draw outside the box.

(c) 2013 Trina Lambert

(c) 2013 Trina Lambert

What a treat today has been—nothing like enjoying 71 degrees at the end of January, especially, if like me, you get to get outside and go to the beloved spot that is Washington Park. We had similar weather yesterday so I knew to bring warm weather clothes for my post-errand run. I also knew to expect pretty much everyone and his/her dog to come play in the park—which they did. My poor dogs, home jumping around in our snow-melt mud puddles, have no idea what else they missed. For one thing, they missed seeing a Bald Eagle sitting majestically at the top of a tree, located just perfectly in front of a view of snow-covered mountaintops.

That’s the beauty of going the pace I go these days—I have a chance to smell the roses or—in today’s case—to look up and see the eagle. Didn’t take me too long to see the people craning their heads toward a tree while holding out their cell phones. I debated stopping, but decided just experiencing my glimpse of the eagle was enough. Of course, that didn’t stop me from ending my run over by that tree and trying for another look. No such luck, but once was enough.

My husband Sherman and I have spent the last few Thursday evenings running in the same location since it’s one place with good lighting and surfaces where most of the snow and ice melt quickly. Those recent nighttime experiences could not be more different from running out there today with all of Denver. Instead, the park is really quiet. The more adventurous souls are running on the dirt path (or more often, it’s a path hard packed in snow) using their headlamps—or nothing—to spot out the more treacherous surfaces. Our ability to run at all—slow as it is—is too hard-fought for us to take further risks with our bodies—which is why we stay on the better lighted roads that wind around the park.

We also do bring our dogs when we run together. For them, it’s no different if the thermometer reads 70 degrees or 10, or if the ground’s icy, dry, muddy, or all of the above—as long as they get to go.

Just looking around the dogs at the park—either ours in the quiet evenings or the ones I see out and about in the daytime—reminds me that it’s really about the “get to” not the “got to”—and, more than that, it’s about being in the moment. Dogs aren’t at the park thinking about taking a nap or hanging out on the couch nor are they worrying about when dinner will be—or even if they’re going to pay for going a little too far. They’re just running or walking. For some it’s all about the “go” and for others there’s the go and the geese and the people and the other dogs and the smells—oh my.

Oh my indeed. Love it in the cold and dark, but there’s no treat like getting out in the warmth and sunshine right smack dab in the middle of the winter. Whenever my steps feel hard-earned, may I remember that if I get to go, I’m doing OK. Just ask any dog—it really is all about the go.

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